Gear Institute | NEW WEST JERSEY AND BOARDWALK SHORTS
Text version of the review below:
Club Ride’s western flair appeals to the generation of urban cowboys (and cowgirls) who prefer mountain bikes to mechanical bulls. I’ve worn several Club Ride pieces for years and wanted to know how the company’s newer gear stacked up.
The New West jersey seems a touch lighter than the previous iteration I have in my kit drawer, which gets worn all the time despite an unsightly bloodstain. The size large jersey was roomy, but didn’t look like it was hanging off my body. There’s a small, almost hidden, zipper pocket on the back right of the New West, where I stashed my car keys on a day where I decided to forgo the hydration pack. The pocket served this purpose well, but I’d have been hard-pressed to fit in much more than that. The jersey offers great breathability and SPF 50 protection, which is especially good if you’re riding in an area without a lot of shade.
The Boardwalk shorts have been streamlined with fewer pockets than most of the other shorts Club Ride has put out over the years. At first glance, I thought they’d fit tighter as well, but I retained my full range of motion and they never interfered with my pedaling. The shorts have a special finish that helps repel dirt, which comes in handy when you transition from trail to pub. On a recent ride through Dupont State Forest, I plowed through several stream crossings and slogged up multiple gravel climbs, but the dust, water, and mud were quickly shed.
Like most mountain-bike shorts today, the Boardwalk shorts don’t come with a chamois, allowing you to use whichever undershorts you prefer. Club Ride offers a host of different types of undershorts, categorized by how many hours you intend to be in the saddle. I just wore a standard pair of Giro bibs underneath and rode comfortably.
My only quibble with the Boardwalk shorts is with the phone pocket. My Apple device slid snuggly into the pocket, but I found myself wishing there were a snap or a strip of Velcro securing it in place. Several times during my ride I reached down to the pocket just to make sure my phone was still there. This is a minor gripe, but one to keep in mind if carry your phone with you.
At the post-ride brewery stop, it didn’t look like I’d just rolled off the trail (even if I definitely smelled like it); both the jersey and shorts easily pass as casual clothing. Shredders put off by the country-ish styling of the New West can pick up the more subdued Vibe jersey, which offers plainer colors and nixes the metal pearl snaps in favor of plastic.
After several weeks of wear, I couldn’t be happier with the Boardwalk shorts and New West jersey. I’m already looking forward to logging a lot of long miles in this kit throughout the summer, although hopefully I’ll be able to avoid the bloodstains this time around.